President Joan T.A. Gabel celebrates University of Minnesota’s opportunities in her first Board of Regents meeting

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In her first remarks before the Board since taking office, University of Minnesota President Joan T.A. Gabel shared her perspective on the unique opportunities and promising future she sees for the University as it looks to further deliver on its mission to serve Minnesota and the world.

“Today is a new day at our University – a day to not only recognize that we benefit from those that have made this institution great but that, by working together, we can be even greater and that our best days lie ahead,” said Gabel. “I also look forward to working with the University community in the weeks and months ahead – to take leaps when needed, and incremental steps as necessary - to ensure that each step, however large or small, moves us forward and, when taken together, they widen the circle of opportunity, innovation and discovery; strengthen the bonds of our community, and; deepen our system’s impact in a manner that honors our institution’s legacy.”

Following Gabel’s report, Powell addressed the Board and celebrated the tenure of his predecessor, Regent Dave McMillan, and the achievements of the University during McMillan’s two years of service as Chair.

Powell shared that he and his fellow Regents are excited to work closely with Gabel to establish strategic priorities that will help the University deliver even stronger results tied to its education, research and outreach missions.

Gopher student-athletes set academic, grad rate records
Highlighted by its student-athletes’ academic successes and a collection of notable athletic achievements, Gopher Athletics presented its annual report to the Board today.

Gopher Athletics Director Mark Coyle shared that the nearly 700 student-athletes in his department posted a cumulative grade-point average of 3.29 following the spring semester, a new department record. Success in the classroom is buoying record graduation rates as well. The 93 percent graduation rate for Gopher student-athletes is the highest it has ever been and is tied for the highest among all Big Ten public schools.

Coyle went on to celebrate the department’s second consecutive top-20 finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup, a national competition of more than 300 Division I athletics programs that measures broad-based achievement across all sports. The Gophers had four teams win conference titles in the past year and 13 teams reach the NCAA Championships. Coyle also noted that Gopher Athletics was the only athletics department among the 65 in the “Power Five” conference in which every single team sport posted a winning record last year.

Along with his Chief Financial Officer, Rhonda McFarland, Coyle discussed the department’s forecasted revenues and expenses for fiscal year 2020, which began on July 1. Gopher Athletics forecasts approximately $123 million in both categories, which is a budget anticipated to rank eighth out of 14 schools in the Big Ten.

The report concluded with Coyle and Senior Associate Director Joi Thomas, who oversees health and performance for the Gophers, discussing how the department has restructured this critical unit and developed best-in-class policies and practices related to student-athletes’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

The Board also:

  • Granted President Gabel the authority to establish and convene the Advisory Council on Rare Diseases, known as “The Chloe Barnes Advisory Council on Rare Diseases,” which will work with patients with rare diseases, as well as caregivers, health care providers, researchers and legislators to provide information on rare disease research, diagnosis, treatment and education.
  • Heard the annual report from the University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA), during which UMAA President and CEO Lisa Lewis, along with outgoing and incoming UMAA Board Chairs, shared the latest news surrounding the Twin Cities campus alumni that the organization represents.
  • Approved real estate transactions involving parcels of land in Carver and Carlton counties, as well as 2642 University Ave. in St. Paul.
  • Heard an overview presentation on NCAA compliance from the Director of Athletic Compliance on the Twin Cities campus, Jeremiah Carter.

The Board of Regents will meet next on September 12-13, 2019. Visit for more information.


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